A Tribute to Arcadis IBI Group CEO, Scott Stewart
Scott Stewart recently announced his desire to turn his attention to family and other passions in life. With Scott’s official last day upon us, we are taking time to reflect on his leadership, career, and impressive nine-year tenure as CEO of IBI Group—a legacy that has benefitted and inspired many.
Scott Stewart’s passion for solving transportation challenges related to the movement of people and goods led to an early career in the public sector transportation space where he worked for municipal, provincial, and federal levels of government in Toronto, Sudbury, Halifax, and Montreal. It was during this time that Scott was introduced to IBI Group and what impressed him most was IBI’s culture of engaging, bright creative people who challenged the norms and pushed boundaries. When he finally joined IBI as a transportation engineer and planner in 1978, the company had fewer than 30 employees.
Scott has always been a visionary and early on he knew that technology would be an important part of IBI’s future. Scott led IBI to pursue and win several first-of-its-kind transportation projects, leading to what would later be known as intelligent transportation systems, or ITS, defining the relationship between technology and transportation.
From the landmark Burlington Skyway project to major projects in Toronto, Boston, Glasgow and California, these technology-first transportation projects accelerated the firm’s growth and doubled its head count in under one year. Due to his growing reputation, in 2000 Scott was invited by the U.S. Federal Government to serve as a member of a technical advisory committee on the future of ITS.
Soon after, IBI won the Confederation Bridge traffic management and tolling contract in Prince Edward Island, Canada. Next came a bridge toll system connecting Paradise Island with Nassau in the Bahamas, followed by a large-scale project in Greece. These projects and the foresight that tolling would become a growing, revenue-generating solution for public sector clients gave rise to IBI’s international toll practice, which continues to contribute to the business today.
In 2004, IBI Group went public; the company had 800 staff with operations across Canada, the U.S., UK and internationally.
In August 2013, Scott became IBI Group’s CEO. The company was in financial difficulty, having acquired several under-performing firms in a tumultuous market. Work began to communicate and consult with stakeholders, including banks, shareholders and staff, and organizational and operational changes were made more effectively. With the help of CFO Stephen Taylor, who joined the firm in 2014, the focus was on paying down debt, shifting the company back into good standing with the banks and establishing operational order with a more fulsome corporate structure. In tandem, IBI rebranded and organized itself into three core sectors: Infrastructure, Buildings, and Intelligence. All these initiatives worked. In 2015, IBI Group was named International Turnaround of the Year by the Turnaround Management Association.
Under Scott’s leadership, IBI continued to improve financial performance, establish governance, and grow a strong brand reputation. We created a rich culture, delivered innovation and design excellence to our clients around the world, and embraced partnership and collaboration. We also transformed into a technology-driven design company with the implementation of our first Strategic Plan—A Smarter Urban Future—integrating technology into our projects and our business practices. These successes differentiated us from our peers and gave us a competitive edge with clients and investors.
As we set out to launch our second Strategic Plan, we were well on the way to becoming the global leader in technology-driven design solutions. This fact piqued the interest of many companies and ultimately led to the acquisition of IBI Group by Netherlands-based Arcadis in September 2022. Just prior to the acquisition in the spring of 2022, IBI was recognized as a Top 30 Business on the Toronto Stock Exchange, evidence of its solid performance and competitive advantage. These accolades are evidence of Scott’s vision, leadership and understanding of the business and the investor community during his impressive nine-year tenure as CEO of IBI Group.
As we bring the best of IBI to Arcadis and take on the exciting challenges and opportunities ahead, we offer our deepest gratitude to Scott, for his vision and leadership and for building Arcadis IBI Group into what it is today. We wish him every success and happiness as he takes on new adventures in retirement.